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A train conductor talking to 4 children outside of a train.

As a child, some of your fondest memories are formed by getting out of the house and exploring with your family or friends. From historical landmarks to museums, there are plenty of exciting and educational places to take kids in and around Lancaster County. 

Whether you’re looking for field trips for schools or family things to do on a rainy day, we’ve compiled a list of 5 of our favorite educational places to take your kids.

1. Lancaster Science Factory 

If you’re looking for indoor places to take kids that are stimulating, educational, and fun, the Lancaster Science Factory is the place to be. It opened in Lancaster in January 2008. Its mission is to spark curiosity in children about the excitement of technical fields related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

At the Lancaster Science Factory, your children can gain exposure and confidence in STEM-related topics. There are over 75 hands-on exhibits for your children to explore, each designed to be touched and tried out by guests. 

They are open to the public for family visits and school field trips but also allow private reservations for birthdays or other parties. Their full range of services includes:

  • Camps & Programs
  • Planned Events
  • Outreach
  • Field Trips
  • Parties and Facility Rentals

If you’re looking for field trips for schools, The Lancaster Science Factory offers free trips for grades 1-8 at the School District of Lancaster, or to any non-profit organizations that serve children with physical or developmental disabilities or financial needs. 

Quick Facts:

    • Hours:
      • Tuesday-Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm
      • Sundays: 12 pm – 5 pm
    • Entry Fee: $12/person (ages 3+)
    • Group Rate: $11/person (with limited free chaperones)
    • Recommended Ages: Kindergarten – 8th grade
    • Sell Tickets in Advance?✗
  • Exception for groups of 10+
  • Birthday Parties? ✓
  • Field Trips?✓

454 New Holland Avenue

Lancaster, PA 17602

Old mennonite pots and furniture in the corner on a hardwood floor.

2. Mennonite Life

Immerse your children (and yourself) into the cultural history of the Mennonite way of life. Mennonite Life is a historical organization created to preserve the history of Lancaster Mennonites and teach people the values and traditions of their lifestyle. 

They have 2 campuses in Lancaster, PA: The Mennonite Life Campus and the 1719 Museum Campus. Formerly known as the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, the Life Campus houses the Mennonite Life Museum. Inside, students can explore over 300 years of Mennonite and Amish art hand-crafted by local “plain people.” 

Their second Lancaster campus is the 1719 Museum. Here, students can get a taste of 18th-century life in Lancaster. This location is also home to the oldest original Mennonite meeting house in the Western Hemisphere—now a registered historic landmark—the Herr House. 

In addition to the Herr House, visitors can also explore the Lancaster Longhouse — a full-sized reproduction of a Native American longhouse. With the help of the Circle Legacy Center, visitors will learn the rich history of local Indigenous tribes that lived in south-central PA. 

Quick Facts: 

    • Hours:
      • Tuesday-Friday: 9:30 am – 4 pm
    • Entry Fee: $8/person (ages 3+)
    • Group Rate: “Special Pricing”
    • Recommended Ages: n/a
    • Sell Tickets in Advance?✓
  • Exception for groups of 10+
  • Birthday Parties? ✗
  • Field Trips?✗

2215 Millstream Road 

Lancaster, PA 17602

Quick Facts:

    • Seasonal Hours:
      • April-October: Friday & Saturday from 10 am -4 pm
    • Entry Fee: $7 children (7-16); $15 adults
    • Group Rate: $6 children; $13 adults
    • Recommended Ages: n/a
    • Sell Tickets in Advance?✓
    • Birthday Parties? ✗
    • Field Trips?✓
  • Hours differ for school field trips

1849 Hans Herr Drive

Willow Street, PA 17584

A child wearing virtual reality goggles and using VR controllers.

3. Lancaster Virtual Reality Lounge

Virtual reality is becoming more prevalent in everyday life. It’s not far-fetched for it to become commonplace in certain industries in the near future, education being one of them. What better way to get your children familiar with the technology than bringing them to a virtual reality lounge?

The Lancaster Virtual Reality Lounge has over 15 VR stations and 300+ games and experiences to explore. Based on availability, guests can rent out a maximum of 9 stations for up to 180 minutes. Their site notes that walk-ins are welcome, but they strongly recommend making an appointment online ahead of time. 

They are open to the public Friday – Sunday and for private events only Monday – Thursday. Their private events include kid birthday parties, special events, or corporate team building. They also offer on-location VR, meaning they’ll bring the stations to you! If you’re a school looking for activities for older students, VR could be a unique experience to consider. 

Please note: Because of the price of the equipment, the Lancaster VR Lounge requires children to be 8+ in order to use the stations, so this is not a place to take your younger kids.

Quick Facts:

  • Hours:
    • Monday – Thursday: private events only
    • Friday: 3 pm – 10 pm
    • Saturday: 11 am – 10 pm
    • Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm
  • Entry Fee: varies depending on minutes of play 
  • Group Rate: n/a
  • Recommended Ages: 8+
  • Sell Tickets in Advance?✓
  • Birthday Parties? ✓
  • Field Trips?✗

325 N Queen Street, Suite G04

Lancaster PA 17603

4. Oregon Dairy

You might know Oregon Dairy as a supermarket, bakery, or restaurant, but did you know that they’re also a destination for family fun? They host a variety of educational, family events for kids throughout the year from corn mazes to family farm days.

If your students are interested in agriculture, livestock, or business, Oregon Dairy is actually one of the most educational places to take kids on a field trip. They offer farm tours designed for students from preschool up to 8th grade — they even have their lesson plans online so you know exactly what to expect when planning your field trip. 

These farm tours are also open to the public, but they require a minimum of 10 guests for the group rate to apply. Any groups smaller may have to pay a flat rate. If you have friends with children, plan a day to visit together and avoid the flat rate!

During September and October, they also offer rustic barn rentals on their property to host birthday parties, family gatherings, showers, and other celebrations. A barn rental offers seating for up to 24 guests with an additional covered patio area. 

Quick Facts (For Tours Only):

    • Hours:
      • April – August: Monday – Friday
      • September – October: Monday – Thursday
  • Times vary by request; they can start as early as 8 am or as late as 4 pm. 
  • Flat Rate (for groups under 10): $80-$100 
  • Group Rate: $8-$10/person (depending on tour)
  • Recommended Ages: Kindergarten – 8th grade
  • Sell Tickets in Advance?✓
  • Birthday Parties? ✓
  • Field Trips?✓

2900 Oregon Pike

Lititz, PA 17543

Mother with 2 kids looking out the window of a train.

5. Strasburg Rail Road

If you’re a train lover, Strasburg Rail Road is an unforgettable experience; if you’re not, it’s just as enjoyable! As the most visited heritage railroad in the continental United States, Strasburg Rail Road brings the excitement of the history of the steam train to students and families of all ages. 

Their trains run year-round, with seasonal-themed rides available around the holidays. They also host special train events sporadically throughout the year, such as an escape room, a murder mystery, and their famous Day Out with Thomas™ trains.

If you’re looking for an exciting place to rent out for a group or private event, add Strasburg Rail Road to your list. When groups of 10 or more book tickets, each regular ticket price is reduced by 20%. 

If you’d prefer a more private event, you can also book an entire train! Birthday parties, weddings, retirement groups, or school and church field trips are just a few of the groups that Strasburg Rail Road happily accommodates. 

Quick Facts (For Tours Only):

  • Hours:
    • Dependent on train schedule
  • Entry Fee: Starting at $14 for children, $22 for adults (12+) 
    • For general accommodations – premium and special train prices vary.
  • Group Rate: 20% off regular ticket price for Coach & Open air
  • Recommended Ages: All
  • Sell Tickets in Advance?✓
  • Birthday Parties? ✓
  • Field Trips?✓

301 Gap Road

Ronks, PA 17572

3 Reasons Strasburg Rail Road Is A Great Field Trip Destination

Still not convinced? Here are 3 reasons why Strasburg Rail Road is the perfect place to take kids for a field trip. 

1. Trains will run rain or shine.

You won’t have to worry about the weather spoiling your field trip because our trains operate rain or shine. 

2. Fun for students or kids of all ages.

How many field trips allow teachers to come back and say they had just as much fun as the kids? We bet not many, but Strasburg Rail Road is on the list of destinations that does. Whether they’re in elementary, middle, or high school, your students and teachers will enjoy riding along the railroad tracks and taking in the history of the area. 

3. We can arrange packed lunches.

If you’re booking your school field trip to Strasburg Rail Road, our team can work with you to organize boxed lunches for your students. They can eat outside at one of our picnic groves or at our on-site restaurant, Café 1832

Ready to book your trip to Strasburg Rail Road? Browse the ticket schedule for a taste of America’s steam history